The Sheffield Wednesday head coach says he is happy with his defensive options.
As any Sheffield Wednesday fan will testify, their side could do with a centre-half this winter.
Should anything happen to Tom Lees or Glenn Loovens, the Owls would have to either relocate Sam Hutchinson – arguably the team’s most influential performer since his return to midfield last month – or promote one of Vincent Sasso or Jose Semedo, who have played 73 Championship minutes between them this season and – harshly but fairly – are not in the same league.
Irrespective of what Carlos Carvalhal said at his press conference this week, the Wednesday head coach must also be aware of the above – he was a central defender too, once upon a time, as was his assistant Lee Bullen. And despite insisting he is happy with his present options, he failed to deliver a definite ‘no’.
As BBC reporter Rob Staton has learned the hard way, the Portuguese’s disdain for transfer-related lines of questioning is palpable – he has never been one to disclose his plans before they are set in stone, as he did with Sasso’s arrival back in August.
If I were a betting man, I would guess that a new centre-half is actually not too far from Carvalhal’s thoughts, especially with Sasso and Semedo both out of contract next summer, and, given the Owls’ presence at a recent Scottish Premiership fixture, I would be surprised if the name John Souttar has not yet come up.
According to the Edinburgh Evening Times, Wednesday representatives took in last month’s game between Souttar’s Hearts and Glasgow Rangers, in which the 20-year-old impressed at the back, keeping a clean sheet and looking sharp in possession.
A Scottish top-flight regular since the age of 17, Souttar is not far from outgrowing his present surroundings, as rumoured interest from Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce [the Sun], along with his Derby counterpart Steve McClaren – who was also present that night at Tynecastle – would suggest.
However, with both clubs well-stocked in Souttar’s position, the Scotland Under-21 star is likely to find the path to regular first team football far shorter at Hillsborough.
Whether Souttar was the focus of Wednesday’s attention remains to be seen, although there is little doubt that – in this writer’s mind at least – he would be a solid investment.